State law (Education Code Section 48200) requires regular and punctual attendance. The administration will determine whether absences are excused or unexcused. School administration enforces attendance policies and will monitor students who are chronically absent or tardy and take appropriate steps following state and district policies to improve their attendance. Poor attendance or chronic tardies may lead to transfers to attend Discovery Elementary being revoked.

The most important reason for good school attendance is education. Students who have poor attendance miss important concepts and information. In addition, they develop poor attendance habits, which can negatively affect their success later in life. The staff at Discovery Elementary School will help parents in any way we can to ensure regular and prompt attendance for our students.

Tardy Procedures

Both the front and back gates will be closed and locked at the warning bell at 8:42 am. All students arriving after the gates close will need to enter the campus through the office. Students will not be considered tardy until the 8:45 bell. Late students must first report to the Attendance Clerk in the front office for a tardy pass prior to going to their classroom. The start of the school day is one of the most important times of the day. Please ensure your child arrives to school on time. Discovery Elementary School follows state and district policy for tardy students.

Change of Address/Phone Number

If you should have a change in your address, phone number, or emergency phone numbers please notify the attendance office immediately. In the event your child becomes ill or is injured, authorized persons must be able to be contacted.

Reporting Absences

For each day your child is absent, please call the Attendance Number (760.290.2077 - Press 4) with the reason for the absence. Our Attendance Clerk contacts the family of each absent student daily. When you call ahead of time, it greatly helps with the daily attendance process.

San Marcos Unified School District Board Policy 5113 for Absences and Excuses states that for an absence from school to be considered excused (see excused absences), the parent or guardian must provide a satisfactory explanation either in person, by written note, or by phone within 72 hours of the student’s return to school. Upon returning to school after being absent, the student shall be permitted to return to class.

Should a situation arise which requires your child to be absent from school for 5 days or more, please notify the front office and your child’s teacher at least 1 week in advance. An Independent Study Contract will be sent home with your child to complete during the absence. Independent Study Contracts are not available for “vacations” that occur during the instructional year (per Education Code). Please plan vacations for designated times based upon the school calendar.

Excused Absences

Per San Marcos Unified School District Board Policy 5113, students receive an excused absence when they are absent from school for the following reasons:

  1. Attendance at funeral services for a member of the immediate family (1 day in state, 3 days out-of-state) Education Code 48205, 45194);
  2. Serious illness of a member of the family which necessitates the absence of the student;
  3. Illness or injury of the student;
  4. Quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer (Education code 48205);
  5. Medical, dental, optometrical, or chiropractic appointments (Education Code 48205);
  6. Jury duty in the manner provided by law (Education code 48205);
  7. Justifiable personal reasons, including but not limited to, an appearance in court, observance of a holiday or ceremony of his/her religion, an employment interview or education conference, service at an election precinct, or attendance at a funeral service and such other absences as the principal may consider justifiable when requested in advance.

Students who plan to be absent for reasons other than the first three listed above should seek approval by presenting a note from their parent, guardian, or caregiver to the assistant principal, who will then indicate approval or disapproval. Any student shall be allowed to complete all assignments and tests missed during an excused absence that can reasonably be provided, and on completion, shall be given full credit. When a student exceeds 10 absences in a school year, the school may require further absences to be verified by a physician.


California Law (EC 48260) classifies a student as a "truant" when the student has missed school on three (3) occasions involving any combination on the following:

  • Being absent from school without a valid excuse for a full day.
  • Being more than 30 minutes late to school.
  • Being absent from school without a valid excuse for more than 30 minutes.

Chronic Absentee
State of California Education Code 60901(c)(1) instructs schools to consider a student as a "chronic absentee" whenever he/she has missed more than ten percent (10%) of the school year, for any reason, from the date the student enrolled to the present. All absences (unexcused, unverified, or excused) and tardies greater than 30 minutes no matter the reason are included in the chronic absentee 

Student Attendance Review Team (SART)
Families of students with excessive absences, either truant or chronic, will be notified through a district multi-step process which may include a referral to a School Attendance Review Team (SART). The process includes:

Step 1: Attendance Letter #1 
Truancy Letter - Sent after 3 unexcused absences, 3 unexcused tardies, or a combination
Chronic Absentee Letter -  Sent when a student is absent or tardy for 10% or more of the
school days.

Step 2: Attendance Letter #2
Truancy Letter - Sent after 6 unexcused absences, 6 unexcused tardies, or a combination
Chronic Absentee Letter -  Sent when a student continues to be absent or tardy for 10% or
more of the school days.

Step 3: School Attendance Review Team (SART) Meeting
School will contact family to schedule a SART Meeting  

School meets with family to determine supports needed for regular attendance and
SART contract is signed.

Step 4: SART Violation Letter
  Sent if one or more absences occur after SART Meeting

Step 5: Attendance Letter #3
Truancy Letter - Sent after 9 unexcused absences, 9 unexcused tardies, or a combination
Chronic Absentee Letter -  Sent when a student continues to be absent or tardy for 10% or
more of the school days.

Step 6: Student Attendance Review Board Meeting
  SMUSD SARB panel meets with family at district office to discuss attendance
               and a SARB contract may be signed.

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